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How to save Detroit
How much, if anything, should we spend to bail out U.S. automakers?
 

The U.S. auto industry is in real trouble, said The Washington Post in an editorial (free log-in required). Auto sales dropped 26.6 percent in September, to below 1 million sales, the worst month since 1993. Bankrupycy-threatened GM, which is mulling a merger with Chrysler, is bleeding $1 billion a month. Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian is dumping his tanking Ford shares. But the U.S. should think hard before extending more “welfare” to Detroit’s well-paid workforce and short-sighted executives.

Congress should not only speed up the disbursement of the $25 billion it has approved for Detroit, said The Baltimore Sun in an editorial, but it should also consider another $25 billion. The Big Three need “a 21st-century makeover,” based on fuel-efficent cars, and they can’t do it on their own. They messed up, but they’re “worth saving.”

Maybe the path to salvation lies outside the U.S., said Peter Morici in the Detroit Free Press. Chrysler is a bad fit for GM, but—after it rids itself of labor contracts in Chapter 11—a good match for, say, Mazda. Instead there’s talk of the U.S. taking a stake in a combined GM-Chrysler. We need a better plan than “rewarding two of the worst run companies on the planet.”

 

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